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US Jobless Claims, Mortgage Problems Rise

A mixed bag of economic news Thursday shows a record number of U.S. homeowners having problems repaying their mortgage loans and more troubles in the job market. At the same time, other studies show an improving economy.

The American Bankers Association, an industry group, says more than nine percent of home loans are one month or more behind in their payments. Other measures of housing problems also hit record highs.

A separate report showed more U.S. workers applied for unemployment compensation last week. Labor Department officials say the number of newly laid-off workers rose by 15,000 (to a total of 576,000).

But the Conference Board, a private research group, says the U.S. economy will continue to improve in the next six to nine months. Its index of leading indicators rose by six-tenths of a percentage point to a reading of in July. It was the fourth month in a row the index improved.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and Bloomberg.